Mood Music - Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull
First Inning - Phil Hughes threw a very comforting perfect first inning, including a strikeout of Orlando Hudson. Long Time Listener did that thing he does with the puns and the plays on words. In the bottom of the first, Derek Jeter led off with a single off of Brian Duensing, but would not advance from there.
Second Inning - Another one-two-three inning for the Phranchise, including strikeouts of Delmon Young and Jim Thome. He's looking very good early on (including a beautiful change up) and we finally learned what type of man Free Bradshaw is. Leading off the bottom of the second, Robinson Cano led off the inning with a triple to deep center field and was driven in by a Jorge Posada single.
Third Inning - Phil Hughes has looked absolutely nasty the first time through the lineup to the tune of three perfect innings, four strikeouts, and only one ball out of the infield on only 31 pitches. After weak ground ball outs by Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher hit a double in the gap and Mark Teixeira drove him in with a long single to make the score 2-0.
Fourth Inning - Phil Hughes finally gave up a base runner, allowing a single to Denard Span. However, a double play and a fly out later, and order has been restored. Tackaberry also took a minute to knock Barndon down a peg or two and WhatWouldJeterDo brought in some sarcastic gloom. After Robinson Cano reached on a fielding blunder by the Twins, Marcus Thames did that thing he does where he hits it over the fence to make the score 4-0. After a Curtis Granderson walk (he would come around to score on a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly), Ron Gardenhire takes the ball from Duensing and entrusts the rest of the game to the bullpen.
Fifth Inning - After a nice reference from Nine Inch Nails and enjoying a 5-0 lead, and a long sit in the dugout, Hughes got into trouble for the first time in the ballgame, allowing a single to Delmon Young and a walk to Jim Thome. Despite losing his fastball command just a touch, he was able to avoid giving up any runs by striking out Michael Cuddyer and getting Danny Valencia to pop up to first base. Other than another hit from Marcus Bein' Marcus, the Yankees would go meekly in the bottom of the frame.
Sixth Inning - After two quick outs, Orlando Hudson and Joe Mauer both hit singles to right field, but Hughes again escaped with a big strikeout of Jason Kubel. In the bottom half of the inning, the Yankees would again go down quietly against Scott Baker.
Seventh Inning - Another one-two-three frame from Phil Hughes on two ground balls to second and a fly ball to right to complete an absolutely brilliant performance from Hughes, recapped beautifully by Monotonousblob's gif. Leading off the bottom of the seventh, Nick Swisher delivered a solo blast to right field to make the score 6-0.
Eighth Inning - After seven shutout innings from Phil Hughes, he handed the ball to Kerry Wood, who promptly gave up a double to Danny Valencia, singles to Denard Span and Orlando Hudson, and a walk to Joe Mauer to load the bases. Boone Logan entered the game for a single pitch, inducing a pop up off of the bat of Jason Kubel. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Joe Girardi turned to David Robertson, who got the final out on a harmless fly ball to center field to maintain a 6-1 lead. Nothing exciting happened in the bottom of the frame, other than Marcus Thames attempting to bunt for a hit. You read that correctly.
Ninth Inning - Mariano Rivera.
Comments of the game, as linked above, for Long Time Listener, Free Bradshaw, Tackabery, WhatWouldJeterDo, Nine Inch Nails, and Monotonousblob.
On a day when one of our Young Guns really showed up, I have to ask about the other one. Where is Joba Chamberlain? Does he still pitch for the Yankees? He has not pitched since October 3rd, and will now likely have a long layoff before the ALCS begins. How is he supposed to be a factor in the playoffs with all of this time between starts?
Play Of The Game: Marcus Thames two run home run.
However far the Yankees go in the playoffs, Marcus Thames has been absolutely huge for this team. As a very cheap "scrap heap" type of off-season addition, he has payed enormous dividends for this team. And between him and Lance Berkman, the Yankees now boast a very solid DH platoon. Kudos to Brian Cashman for some terrific pickups.
By sweeping the Twins, the Yankees will now have plenty of time to line up CC Sabathia to be their game one starter in the ALCS (and could potentially throw him in games 1, 4, and 7). This could prove to be a very, very, big deal.
Enjoy the win, and we'll wait and see if it's the Rangers or the Rays that we get to brutalize in the next round!